It just dawned on me that I hadn’t really ever considered facing the Tennessee Titans in the playoffs. As a result, I haven’t really been thinking about how we match up. I really have a lot of game prep to do before the weekend. And, it is a short week to make it worse. So, let’s take a quick look at how we might match up with the Titans, where our strengths might be, where we may struggle. We haven’t played them very often in the last few years, so let’s try to remember the Titans.
First Quarter – Offense
Marcus Mariota racked up 3,232 yard passing, 62% completion percentage, 79.3 rating, with 13 touchdowns and 15 INTs. That isn’t sounding too dangerous.
Derrick Henry and DeMarco Murray are the primary rushing threats, with 744 and 659 yards, respectively. They scored 11 touchdowns and averages 3.9 yards per carry, also not scary. However, they have only lost 1 fumble on 360 carries. We can’t count on them turning the ball over.
There are 3 main receiving threats on the team. Although Delanie Walker (807 yards), Richard Mathews (795 yards), and Eric Decker (563 yards) have only scored 8 touchdowns, they are averaging well over 10 yards per reception and go for over 20 yards on 15% of the receptions. In this case, I think we need to shut them all down or the others will go off.
What is also interesting is how, despite some fairly pedestrian offensive numbers, this team was able to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars (twice) and the Houston Texans this year.
Second Quarter – Defense
In the turnover department, the Titans have 12 INTs and 9 fumble recoveries (we have 16 and 12). They were 5th in the league in sacks with 43 for 272 yards, 15th on passes defensed, and are ranked 13th in yards and 17th in points given up per game. While we give up more yards per game (ranked 28th) but less points (ranked 15th).
So, other than their ability to sack the QB, they aren’t too scary. The main concern point is the sacks, which would also lead me to believe there are a lot of hurries and hits, could lead to our quarterback getting happy feet. I think we all know the issue with Alex “Happy Feet” Smith. Not the best site most of the time.
Third Quarter – Special Teams
Here we seem pretty even in punting, Tennessee only nets 3.3 more yards per punt, and returns. From a kicking standpoint, we are 7.8% more accurate on field goals and 6.1% more accurate on points after touchdowns. This may be a difference maker. We haven’t been taking many returns the distance for touchdowns, so I am feeling like this is the game a team makes a mistake and kicks to Tyreek Hill or Akeem Hunt.
Fourth Quarter – Combined
When all 3 phases are combined, I see KC coming out on top. I think our offense will outplay the Titan defense and the Chief defense will more than handle the Tennessee offense. Well, at least that is how it looks on paper. If only it was that simple. While we have no idea which team of ours will show up (first 5/last 4 or middle 6), we will probably all agree we have been on a roll and are well positioned for a victory in the wild card round.
However it ends up, I am hoping it is at least and exciting game. What do you guys think? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the two teams? What is the difference maker?
Until next week, there’s The Rub!
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